Train evokes memories at Littlehampton Miniature Railway

Littlehampton Miniature Railway
Littlehampton Miniature Railway

Life is filled with smells and some of them linger forever in the memory much as the recollection of a certain view or sound lingers through the years.

Memory of that certain, never forgotten face is just as powerful and quick to recall.

Along the River Arun when a coaster packed with gravel comes in and leaves in its wake the drifting perfume, the light mist of burnt diesel drifting across the river’s surface.

A combination of both sound and smell that always ignites a memory of my young days.

My first job after school, the merchant navy, an Esso coastal tanker, ships with romantic names my favourite being that first oil carrier with the magical name of the SS Esso Cheyenne.

This weekend another memory, the wonderful visiting miniature train, Sherpa, and the unmistakable smell of burning Welsh coal emanating from the glowing firebox. Magic!

Two and a half tonnes of traction engine all the way from Wales just to delight hundreds of the young and the old on a memorable return ride from Mewsbrook Park to The Putting Green Café.

And the sound? That mournful steam whistle, what memories that conjured up and yet, dear reader, would you believe one person actually complained about the noise?

When told about that, I asked for an extra toot and the wonderful crew obliged. What a lovely weekend morning that was, thank you all.

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Many comments and letters about the column come my way, most of them positive about our town and, every now and then, one from a reader who is fully engaged.

Thank you, sir, for your recent letter, here reprinted in full with the writer’s name withheld: “Well done, Chris, for speaking out over the intolerance RE the non-English speaker. I’ve been a Littlehampton resident for 18 months and am very pro-town... but I am aware there’s a smattering of racial intolerance locally which I try to challenge gently when I can. All power to yourself and Billy Blanchard-Cooper in promoting our (largely) wonderful town.”

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A very pleasant late evening walk along the prom and happy to see that much of the ugly new sewer system piping has gone and it should not be too many days now before the massive task is completed and the promenade back to normal.

Sadly, the little ringed plover’s nest I discovered recently has vanished just as did last year’s. Dopey bird, didn’t learn that dogs, gulls and crows have little respect for such silliness and folk who would wish it no harm are totally unaware of its rocky, twiggy little nest which relies solely on camouflage for protection.

• If you would like to get in touch with Whispering Smith, please email: whisperingsmith1@gmail.com

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